User onboarding: How to increase the Time to Value of your software?

Procurement tools, CRM, HRIS or ERP, no software escapes user onboarding. It is a fundamental stage to handle software solutions. And for good reason, user onboarding is at the heart of many issues related to digital tools such as user retention, software adoption and employee performance.

But did you know that onboarding users on digital solutions directly affects your Time to Value? In other words, the quality of your user onboarding is decisive for the adoption of your software: it drastically influences the way your users perceive the added value of your digital tools. More concretely, the better your software will make an impression, the more your users will see the added value and the more they will use it in the long term.

Here’s how to optimally conduct your user onboarding to increase your Time To Value and foster sustainable software adoption.

What is Time to Value? 

Time to… what ? First things first, let’s define this term.   

Time to Value (TTV) definition

Time to Value (TTV) is the time it takes for a new user to realize the added value of a solution or a product. It can be on a short term or a long term. For instance, when using a new HRIS, short-term added value may be the rapid creation of bills of expenses while long-term added value may be the automation of HR processes.

In short, Time to Value could be summed up in one question.

How long does it take your users to perceive the added value of your solution?

But what is exactly the link between Time to Value and user onboarding? And how is it related to software adoption?

What’s the use of Time to Value?

Whether in terms of money or human resources, implementing a software is costly. You’ve invested money to: 

  • Have your software at your disposal (purchase of license or Cloud subscription).
  • Support the software deployment on the long term by hiring employees (change management, training, application support).

To this can be added performance costs, such as the cost of:

  • The digital incompetence of employees, if not well-trained.
  • Abandoned software, when users aren’t engaged.

Which leads us to another question. 

How long does it take your users to handle their software and be operational?

Although some costs are necessary, others can be avoided. When it comes to software, the more your tools are used, the more your costs are reduced. This is particularly the case for performance costs (digital incompetence and digital adoption) which can be optimized by improving your Time to Value. So how do you maximize your user onboarding step by step?

1. Welcome: take care that you welcome new users on your software

You wouldn’t see yourself welcoming a new employee without greeting them, would you? Well it’s the same with digital tools: your new users need to feel welcome, make them feel comfortable! Using new software is like stepping into a new job: it takes time to take your marks, adapt and be operational. That’s why it’s essential to make new users feel confident and help them understand their software. And because your users don’t all have the same relation with software, it’s fundamental to support them from their first interaction with their software.

When it comes to software, the first impression is decisive: it directly affects your Time to Value. In fact, the more your users appreciate their onboarding on their digital tools, the more they will be able to perceive their added value and therefore use them sustainably. Put another way, by influencing Time to Value, the first impression not only impacts the use of digital tools, but also user engagement and retention. But how to make a good impression on your users?

🍋 Communicate with new users from their software

Do you remember the excitement you felt when you received your welcome message on Slack, Trello, or even G Suite the first time you used it? Well, your users want the same warm, relevant and above all engaging communication!

With Lemon Learning, you can communicate with users in the most suitable way with tailor-made content such as push notifications and tooltips, right from their first use! It only takes a few clicks to create, modify or send your communications to users (and the result is pretty good!).

So, who said Time to Value was out of reach? 

2. Put it in context: contextualize software training

Software training is a must for user onboarding. But do you know how important it is for new users?

The reason training is so critical for employees is that it has a direct impact on Time to Value when it comes to software. Engagement, digitization, update, accessibility… There are numerous challenges in training regarding digital tools. So, how to provide an effective software training to users?

Practice makes perfect.

The key to software mastery is practice: your users must use their software to learn how to handle them. But that’s not enough. In fact, practice is only half of the key to digital adoption.

Practice makes perfect. Yes, but not just anyhow. Let’s take the example of a budding blacksmith. They don’t learn to forge on the table or when they’re on the road. They need a favorable context to learn properly: in their workshop with all the equipment they need right when they need it. It’s exactly the same for new users: they can’t learn outside their workshop (the software) and without the necessary tools (the contextual training).

🍋 Invest in practical and contextual software training

With Lemon Learning, users learn by doing. They have access to interactive guides available in real time to help them handle their software quickly and independently! Need to create a new opportunity on Salesforce or to manage bookmarks on Oracle? No need to come out of the software: the information is right where users are.

As a result :

  • Users are trained when needed
  • User experience improves as well as Time to Value
  • Support tickets decrease and so do the support costs

3. Customize user onboarding

“Your profile is so different from mine!”. You’ve probably heard this sentence when going on your Netflix or Pinterest profile with other people. The reason ? These platforms are references when it comes to user personalization. Each user has a completely different profile, but which corresponds to them particularly. It’s the same with onboarding: users want personalized content!

54% of people want to see personalized content based on their interests (Adobe).

The reason it is so important to personalize user onboarding is because it directly affects the quality of Time to Value and the experience of new users. In fact, user onboarding also has an impact on the user experience and on user retention.

🍋 Customization made easy

Customizing, okay, but at what cost? After all, if you have to customize the onboarding of each employee, it’s a huge cost in terms of time. Absolutely, and that’s why we’ve chosen to make it easy for you. Lemon Learning enables you to save time:  you no longer need to spend hours modifying your training content (manuals, videos, texts, etc.). With just a few clicks, you can personalize the content pushed to your users according to their department, language, or role.

To sum up, user onboarding is an undeniable asset for improving your Time to Value. User onboarding, contextual training and personalization are all essential steps to enable users to be aware of the value of your software, both in the short term and in the medium term. Thus making them use their software.

But to achieve digital adoption, it’s critical to realize one thing: user onboarding never ends. Updates, news features, each new novelty requires user onboarding. So, what will be the subject of your next user onboarding?


  • Successful customer onboarding never stops, Inside Intercom, 2016.
  • Les bonnes pratiques à respecter pour réussir l’onboarding de vos utilisateurs, La Fabrique du Net, 2018.
  • Time to Value, Baremetrics.